When Alexa L.M. von Tobel ’06 graduated from the College, she realized that she and her friends knew a lot about problem sets and exams, but little about taxes and credit scores. Taking the matter into her own hands, Von Tobel founded and is now CEO of LearnVest, Inc., a website which aims to empower women by teaching them how to manage their finances for free.
“I was well-versed in the business world of economy, but when it came to my own personal economics it was just something that I felt hadn’t been taught when I was an undergrad, not even touched on in any way,” she says.
Upon graduating, von Tobel deferred her admission to Harvard Business School and accepted a position at Morgan Stanley. When she enrolled, she had already begun developing LearnVest, Inc. The economy crashed soon after, and a door opened; Von Tobel took a formal five-year leave of absence to focus on the company.
Founded in 2009, LearnVest, Inc. had 10,000 members by the end of its first month, and von Tobel expects it will have over 400,000 members by the end of the year. Users can securely link all of their accounts to the website, keeping track of all their finances in one place. There, they can also find tips and tutorials about creating a budget, cutting costs, and more. While the company communicates with most of its users online, users that pay a small subscription fee can speak with advisors on the phone. Looking forward, von Tobel plans to launch additional newsletters and phone support.
The CEO has never been one for limitations—entrepreneurial or geographical. Von Tobel wrote her thesis on the introduction of television and its effects on happiness in Bhutan, and founded a nonprofit that helps fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.